LaFreniere v. Fitzgerald

669 S.W.2d 117 (1984)

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LaFreniere v. Fitzgerald

Texas Supreme Court
669 S.W.2d 117 (1984)

Facts

C-H Council of Co-Owners and four owners of individual condominium units at the Cliff-House condominiums (collectively, the council) (plaintiffs) sued to recover past-due maintenance and operation expenses from Denis LaFreniere (defendant), the owner of the remaining 60 percent of the units. LaFreniere was the president and sole stockholder of the council, a nonprofit corporation that managed the condominium. Condominium-unit owners were charged monthly for their pro rata share for maintaining the common elements. LaFreniere answered the suit, contending that he had paid expenses on the council’s behalf more than his past-due assessments and counterclaimed for the excess. LaFreniere produced canceled checks, invoices, and other memorandums that he claimed showed the amounts he previously paid on behalf of the council. LaFreniere testified that all the checks were drawn on his personal or corporate account and issued in the regular course of his business to cover proper council expenses and services rendered. The trial court entered judgment on the jury verdict denying recovery to all parties. The court of appeals reversed after finding that the canceled checks were hearsay and that they should not have been allowed into evidence because LaFreniere had failed to satisfy state evidentiary rules requiring that LaFreniere prove that he had personal knowledge of the facts reflected in the checks. The court of appeals therefore concluded that LaFreniere was not entitled to any offset and that the council was entitled to attorney’s fees. LaFreniere appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wallace, J.)

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